Sparks look to salvage playoff aspirations vs. Fever

National Sports

The Los Angeles Sparks continue a grueling road swing and look to salvage their playoff aspirations Tuesday when they face the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.

Los Angeles (10-16) slipped to 10th place and a half-game out of the final playoff spot after dropping the third straight game on a six-game road trip Saturday, 76-61, at Connecticut.

The Sparks’ three-game skid comes on the heels of a 4-0 run since the restart from the month-long, Tokyo Olympics hiatus. In those three losses, Los Angeles has averaged just 67 points per game.

The offensive struggles are not new, however — Los Angeles is the WNBA’s lowest-scoring team at 73.2 points per game. However, the Sparks remain in the playoff hunt thanks to their defense.

“The one constant has been the ability to defend and disrupt teams and create turnovers,” said Sparks coach Derek Fisher following Saturday’s loss. “That doesn’t require talent. That’s effort, that’s toughness, that’s mindset.”

Los Angeles ranks second in the league in scoring defense at 78.6 points per game allowed, and tops the WNBA with 17.5 forced turnovers per game.

Indiana (5-19) has struggled offensively as well, ranked No. 11 in the league at 75.0 points per game. Coupled with defensive woes — the Fever are giving up 84.4 points per game — Indiana sits in the WNBA cellar.

The Fever are 1-3 since the restart, most recently dropping an 87-71 decision in the first game of a four-game home stand Saturday against Las Vegas.

A recent positive for Indiana, however, has been the individual play of Lindsay Allen over the Fever’s last two games, including a win over Dallas. Allen scored 13 points and dished five assists against the Wings, and she followed it up with 11 points and four assists in the loss to Las Vegas.

“I’ve always liked Lindsay, and I told her that, going back to her days at Notre Dame,” said Fever coach Marianne Stanley in her postgame press conference Saturday. “She’s made the most of the opportunity to get minutes and do something with it.”

–Field Level Media

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